|Publication number||US20060112898 A1|
|Application number||US 11/291,059|
|Publication date||Jun 1, 2006|
|Filing date||Nov 30, 2005|
|Priority date||Dec 1, 2004|
|Also published as||WO2006060553A2, WO2006060553A3|
|Publication number||11291059, 291059, US 2006/0112898 A1, US 2006/112898 A1, US 20060112898 A1, US 20060112898A1, US 2006112898 A1, US 2006112898A1, US-A1-20060112898, US-A1-2006112898, US2006/0112898A1, US2006/112898A1, US20060112898 A1, US20060112898A1, US2006112898 A1, US2006112898A1|
|Inventors||Michael Fjelstad, Kenneth Miller|
|Original Assignee||Fjelstad Michael M, Miller Kenneth C|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (9), Referenced by (6), Classifications (16), Legal Events (1)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
This application is a Non-Provisional based on Provisional Patent Application No. 60/632,049 filed on Dec. 1, 2004.
This invention relates to the field of care for animals and in particular to entertain, train and provide food for pets by manual remote, automatic and programmed mode
Numerous disparate types of toys have been created to provide entertainment both for animals and their owners or keepers. It is also of value to have a toy which will capture the attention of the animal in order to keep the animal from engaging in potential destructive mischief. Toys developed for animals take many forms and they exist in all shapes and sizes. A recurring deficiency of traditional designs is that they lack sufficient realism and reward to maintain the animal's interest for extended periods. Over time the animal will become inured to the toy and loose interest. The animal may play with the toy for a while, but then become bored due to the predictable nature of many toys.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,651,332, Interactive pet device, teaches a pet toy footstool comprised of a electrically animated mouse like creature suspended inside a simulated mouse hole, a replaceable drape curtain, an interior access sanctuary for the cat and a stool footrest for the owner. The device electrically animates the mouse in a random life like manner from virtually any location and may be operated by a remote control. This device is limited by the suspension of a mouse object for the sole entertainment and amusement of a cat. Cats have many personalities and modes, a suspended mouse object even twitching a random intervals, may not entice, entertain, or train a cat. Although the shelter makes for a nice foot stool, the electrically animated suspended mouse object may not sufficiently keep a cat enticed. Thus although other pets and animals appear to be discriminated against by this invention, there is a need to accommodate a cats personality and mood, which changes frequently, and the random electronic dangling of a mouse object leaves many cats out.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,571,742, Interactive pet toy, discloses an interactive toy for use with pets and includes a housing having a toy-like object positioned within the housing. The toy-like object is connected to a mechanical locomotion means so that the object can be selectively extended out of the housing and retracted back into the housing. The locomotion means effectuates extension of an object outside the housing and effectuates retraction of object into the housing, a support carriage, said support carriage comprising an external and internal bellows. This is rather mechanically complicated device requires manual manipulation; so said pet is totally dependent on a human operator to play with, invalidating the need for this invention in many situations. '742 discloses a sound device which emits a prerecorded sound in response to movement, propulsion or retraction of the pet amusement object. '742 also discloses a light/motion sensor sensitive to motion or light that is electrically connected to a motor and thus a response. The connection is limited electrically and the sensor is fixed at some location near the mouse object. This is very inconvenient and unaccommodating, as pet enticement should occur well in advance of the necessity for pet proximity, else the mechanism may never engage. Also inconvenient is the necessity for a electrical connection. What is needed is the more convenient way to track the pets location, so that a programmed response is more likely to get the attention and entice fido into the prey objects proximity. '742 lacks programmability and demands the pets proximity to the prey enclosure to engage any action. The introduction of sound helps little if the prerecorded sound used is of no interest to the animal. A pet is enticed better by audio outside of our hearing range AND would rarely respond to the pre-recorded sound. Moreover, the air sound rushing in and out of the bellows mechanism would only confuse the pet with any pre-recorded sounds. What is needed is audio to entice the pet, even if that pets audio enticement range is outside the human hearing range.
U.S. Pat. No. 6,568,353, Play house for cats, provides a container with numerous perforations and an interior containing various mouse and other cat toys which may be accessed through the perforations by a cat's arm. The mouse toys may include a figure atop a moveable spring, a removable mouse, one or mice on a turntable, musical and sound mice, etc. Other cat toys can include balls which rattle when moved, and toys which can emit a variety of sounds based on a battery powered sound chip. The '353 playhouse can purportedly be used to evaluate feline aggressiveness, docility and other traits for breeding and feeding, for psychological purposes, for exercise, for coordination, to relieve boredom. However, any evaluation of cat behavior is subjective, as aggressive and docile traits would be dependant on the extent of enticement and stimulation of pet interest. '353 provides no food or shelter for the pet, and is solely for the entertainment of a cat through mechanical device. What is needed are pet care systems which include food and shelter. What are needed are more general devices and not only for cats, but dogs and small pets, to entertain and respond more individually and truly interact with the pet, instead of a beacon to the pet in the hopes that it will respond. What is needed are less limiting methods to attract the pets attention, to respond to pets individual behavior.
U.S. Pat. No. 5,657,721, Cat exercise toy, discloses local and remote motion detectors which sense the presence or movement of a cat in an area near a toy and in an area remote from the toy. In response to the motion detectors, an electric motor moves a target to attract the cat. '721 device disconnects the target from the electric motor, when the cat subdues the target, allowing the target to stop moving while being held by the cat and giving the cat an artificial sense of “post-kill” satisfaction, while simultaneously prolonging the component life of the toy. The sensing means in '721 is limited to motion detection by infrared pyrometers, photodiodes, phototransistors, silicon pn-junction detectors, silicon PIN diodes, GaA diffusion detectors, GaA Schottky type detectors, GaP photodiodes, and CCD detector arrays. These do not include locating a pet by simple wireless positional location, RFID or GPS. A wireless locator also has the advantage of economics, being much less costly to purchase and install into a pet care system. Moreover, '721 appears to center on enticing through object movement and ignores use of olfactory or food enticement mechanisms. Also, only cats are addressed, discriminating or at least ignoring dogs and other pets.
Cats and dogs have exhibited interest in furtive movement of smaller creatures such as squirrels and mice as they are natural prey for them. The animal enjoys both the pursuit of the prey and its capture. Unfortunately, in the case of most interactive toys at least for cats, the capture is quick and the apparent sense of reward is fleeting. Furthermore, most facilities are limited to a particular kind of pet, be it a cat, dog, chipmunk, pet rat, rabbit. However, most animals will respond to artificial creatures that look, smell or sound like what their instincts would call potential food. What is needed is interactive devices adaptable for a diversity of kinds of pets.
Animals have deeply imbedded instincts for survival. While domestication has valid strong points, animals still have needs to stalk, hunt, be occupied and function in certain capacities, cats to hunt rodents and dogs investigate and alert us to danger. These instinctual characteristics of pets can be revived and enhanced to make happier pets, with some care and training. This training is usually too much work for the average owner. Hence there is a need to retrain animals to sharpen their instinctual skills while providing some entertainment and care.
While balls and other common objects can capture the attention of animals and both dogs and cats can and do play with them, they require constant interaction between the animal and a human. Small graspable toys are ideal for both cats and dogs but they should ideally be sized to the animal. In play or actual hunting, cats tend to grasp first with their claws, while dogs tend to use their mouths almost exclusively for capturing the item of their interest and attention. It is thus important to have a toy which can serve the interests of both types of animals providing a realistic relation to the animal's natural interests and instincts. Ideally such toys will produce an enduring attraction so that the animal continues to hold interest. Animals quickly grow bored of known activity and events. However, pets need entertainment and stimulation, and with the advent of programmable computer technology, animal characteristics, personalities, moods and behavior can be accommodated with some variability in the entertainment, training or food delivery which is responsive to as well as program directed. Current products include some mechanical contrivances, which allow a mechanical decoy to act as a prey or play objects. These are unsophisticated, acting as dumb objects, which dangle at random, or spin on trays in predictable ways to attract the attention of an animal. These current devices are not responsive to the animal and provide limited entertainment. They have no programmable features that can entice, train or keep an animals interest. Furthermore, they do not deliver food to the animal in any meaningful way to train or care for the animal. There is need for devices for the entertainment of pet animals, food delivery systems responsive to and in conjunction with training.
Disclosed is a combined animal entertainment, food delivery and training system comprising a housing with one or more artificial prey objects capable of extending out from, and retracting into the housing, a means to mechanically manipulate the prey object extension and retraction, and a means to dispense food coupled to the prey object wherein food is dispensed when the prey object is exposed and reloaded when prey object is retracted. This whereby an animal can be entertained or trained through the use of an artificial prey object coupled with food dispensation either manually or programmably. This further includes an electrical power source and electro-mechanical means to manipulate the prey object remotely and electronic wireless signal means to locate a selected animal carrying a mounted wireless sensor device.
The invention is designed to accomplish several objectives, which combined, fulfill the need for novel pet toy food delivery system which can entertain and reward a pet for successfully engaging in play with the pet toy. It is thus a first object of the invention to provide a pet toy which moves in a furtive manner, without direct initial stimulation by the animal, so as to capture the attention and interest of the animal so that it engages in play with the device. It is a second object is to provide a pet toy that will move furtively with or without participation on the part of a human. A third object is to provide a pet toy food delivery SYSTEM which activates automatically by means of sensors in response to physical movement of persons or things proximate to the toy object, which may be food. A fourth objective is to provide a pet toy food delivery SYSTEM that can be operated manually if desired. A fifth objective is to provide a pet toy and food delivery SYSTEM, which will provide an edible or sense stimulating, such as smell, reward for the animal when it successfully captures the object. A sixth object is to provide a pet toy and food delivery SYSTEM which is capable of self reloading rewards when one such is taken so that the animal can return to the toy with a sense that there will be another reward with each capture. A seventh objective is to provide a pet toy and food delivery SYSTEM that can serve also as a place wherein the animal can sleep when it tires. An eighth objective of the invention is to provide a toy that can be easily assembled and disassembled when desired for movement or storage. A ninth objective of the invention is to provide a surface upon which pets can scratch and stretch.
The drawings depict various preferred embodiments of the present invention for purposes of illustration only. One skilled in the art will readily recognize from the following discussion that alternative embodiments of the structures and methods illustrated herein may be employed without departing from the principles of the invention described herein. In the drawings, where applicable, the same reference numbers may identify identical or substantially similar elements or functions. Any modifications necessary to the Figures can be readily made by one skilled in the art based on the detailed description provided herein.
The preferred embodiment of the present invention is a pet toy with a movable furtive prey capable of extending out of, and retracting into a housing. Shown in
The stays 1 support the upper portion of the housing and connects to both the base 26 and the top cover 4. The entire outside of the toy, except the bottom and the openings for the pet and prey, are covered with the outer housing 6, which preferably is constructed in such a manner as to provide a scratching surface for the pet.
The PCB assembly 23 has a speaker to reproduce sounds such as squeaking, scratching, owner recorded commands used for training purposes, inaudible frequency aural ques responsive to subject to animal hearing, etc. The PCB assembly 23 is attached by wire to a three position switch that allows for selection of modes such as off, remote and display. The PCB assembly has a circuit to provide light to the eyes of the target prey assembly 24 by means of a flexible wire or fiber optic cable. The PCB assembly 23 may have an antenna and associated receiver to receive wireless radio frequency transmissions from a remote control transmitter, the transmitter having a forward and reverse joystick to vary the speed and direction of the mouse assembly 24. The receiver may also contain wireless circuitry for tracking a subject pet's location. Where motion detectors fail to detect or determine a pet's location because the pet is in another room or outside the proximity sensor, a position broadcast or tracking sensor can be mounted on the animal or animal's collar or other attachment to provide a means to determine what kind of aural queue is necessary to attract the animal. A dog may require a inaudible frequency to beacon him to food if they are outside proximity. An animal being trained will respond to a command given or recordings of real prey made for training purposes. These could be used in conjunction with the automatic feeding dispenser in programmable or classical re-enforcement technique training. Although in a preferred embodiment, the food can be dispensed by mechanical manipulation by manual operator actuation, the PCB assembly 23 may also have the typical digital components such as processor, memory, and I/O and software environment to support the programmability character of food dispensation and training.
The preferred materials of construction and the quantities for the various parts are as follows: stave 1—(8×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; inside top 2—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; base cover 3—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; top cover 4 or base 26—(2×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; battery cover 5—(2×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; outer housing 6—(1×) cloth, paper, carpet, plastic; support post 34—(4×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; housing tube 40—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; worm gear 9—(1×) plastic, metal; pulley shaft 10—(3×) plastic, metal; pulley 11—(2×) plastic, metal; mouse hole bottom 12—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; mouse hole 13—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; motor 14—(1×); gear 15—(1×) plastic, metal; drive cable 16—(1×) plastic, wire, rope; drive belt 17—(1×) plastic, wire, rope; mouse body 18—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; mouse head 19—(1×) plastic, wood, paper, metal, food; mouse axle 20—(2×) plastic, metal; mouse wheel 21—(4×) plastic, wood, metal; mouse wheel spacer 22—(2×) plastic, wood, paper, metal; printed circuit board assembly 23—(1×); target prey (mouse) assembly 24 (1×); batteries 25 (4×); base assembly 26 (1× or 2×).
Alternative actuating mechanisms are shown in
The prey object body 1717 is attached to the prey head 1701 and extended outward by a cable mechanism, manual mode, or motor mechanism, automatic/remote mode. The extension spring 1719 aids in retracting the prey body 1717 inside the shelter housing for food reloading into the prey head 1701 via the top opening 1709. The food pellets 1713 are stored in the hopper 1715 and load through the funnel 1711 where they are held until the prey is retracted, pellets are loaded via a prey head top opening 1709 in communication with the prey nose conduit 1707. The food pellet is moved to the prey head nose 1703 where it awaits a prey object body 1717 extension outward for animal feeding. The prey head nose 1703 contains a lip to support the pellet from falling on its own, requiring some effort by an animal.
Although the invention has been described briefly with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof, it will be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense
From the above description, it will be apparent that the invention disclosed herein provides a novel and advantageous interactive toy, food delivery, training and shelter for pets specifically and animals in general. The foregoing discussion discloses and describes merely exemplary methods and embodiments of the present invention. As will be understood by those familiar with the art, the invention may be embodied in other specific forms without departing from the spirit or essential characteristics thereof.
|Cited Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US4267799 *||Nov 1, 1979||May 19, 1981||Bacon Roger C||Animal training and amusement device|
|US5651332 *||Aug 31, 1995||Jul 29, 1997||Moore; Herbert Arthur||Interactive pet device|
|US5947061 *||Nov 18, 1997||Sep 7, 1999||Bounce, Inc.||Pet toy product with integral treats receiving receptacles|
|US6299015 *||Jan 19, 2000||Oct 9, 2001||Oddzon Inc.||Candy dispensing apparatus|
|US6510817 *||May 25, 2001||Jan 28, 2003||Ethical Products, Inc.||Mouse and cheese cat toy|
|US6543639 *||Aug 24, 2000||Apr 8, 2003||A & A Global Industries, Inc.||Animated candy dispenser and methods|
|US6591785 *||Sep 29, 2000||Jul 15, 2003||Tlc International, Inc.||Cat's toy|
|US6684819 *||Jan 27, 2003||Feb 3, 2004||Carl L. Locke||Toy device for an animal|
|US6904868 *||Jul 14, 2003||Jun 14, 2005||Robert S. Block||Interactive mobile food dispenser|
|Citing Patent||Filing date||Publication date||Applicant||Title|
|US7263953 *||Mar 20, 2006||Sep 4, 2007||Krishnamurthy Sundararajan||Automatic pet trainer|
|US7760140 *||Jun 9, 2006||Jul 20, 2010||Intel Corporation||Multiband antenna array using electromagnetic bandgap structures|
|US7905201||Jan 16, 2009||Mar 15, 2011||The Procter & Gamble Company||Automated systems for feeding animals and collecting animal excrement|
|US8141519||Jul 9, 2008||Mar 27, 2012||Brightspot Solutions, Llc||Animal enclosure|
|US8746178||Feb 4, 2011||Jun 10, 2014||The Iams Company||Automated systems for feeding animals and collecting animal excrement|
|US20060219187 *||Mar 20, 2006||Oct 5, 2006||Krishnamurthy S||Automatic pet trainer|
|Cooperative Classification||A01K1/0236, A01K1/0245, A01K5/0291, A01K15/025, A01K5/0275, A01K5/0114, A01K15/021|
|European Classification||A01K1/02D1, A01K15/02A, A01K1/02D, A01K5/02G, A01K5/01B, A01K15/02C, A01K5/02H|
|Apr 13, 2006||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: ROBERT R. ROSS, CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:BUI, KHOA DANG;REEL/FRAME:017898/0207
Effective date: 20060407